ron rothman.ron rothman
selectively conformist

Southeast Asia Trip, Day 19: Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)

Last-minute change of plans this morning–we took a detour to visit Beng Mealea, the “Jungle Temple,” which was only opened to tourists in 2003 (after it was cleared of land mines). Today, with the native flora encroaching into and intertwining with the half-toppled stone structures, the temple looks like something out of an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider movie (which, incidentally, was filmed at Angkor).

Sadly, though, Cambodian authorities are misguidedly clearing the jungle from the site. What they don’t seem to understand is that the jungle they’re clearing is the very thing which gives the ruins their unique charm; when they’re done, Beng Mealea will be “just another” excavated temple on the remote outskirts of a city that certainly doesn’t need any more of them.

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